greentapestry : 2018

Monday 17 December 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ Towards The Solstice

Although the winter solstice is still a few days away it certainly felt like winter good and proper on Saturday, with storm Deirdre knocking loudly on the door for a few hours. Sunday was much calmer and drier at least during daylight hours and the bitter wind had worn itself out. Time for a walk round the garden and to snip the heads off a few real hardy perennials for this week's 'In A Vase On Monday'. Into my vase went:
  • A stem of helleborus niger also known as the Christmas rose. I purchased a tray of six plug plants back in November for a most reasonable price from the German supermarket name beginning with an L. I bought them on a whim, only spotting them as we had exited the shop with some food shopping. Himself was duly patient waiting in the car whilst I dived back in the store to get in the queue again. Fortunately it was a short queue.
  • A snippet or two of jasmine nudiflorum also known as winter flowering jasmine. It provides a most welcome ray of sunshine in the darkest of days. 
  • A couple of leaves of arum italicum which seem to last forever in a vase. I have resolved to buy another plant to plug one of the gaps in the snowdrop border.

          The vase itself  is a newcomer to the growing collection that has been slowly multiplying since I've been participating in 'A Vase On Monday'. For some time I've hankered after some smaller vases and this is one of a recent arrival of a set of four different coloured glass vases, making use of a gift voucher my dear sister sent to me some time ago. I'm delighted with them especially this green one. No doubt the others will make a debut on the blog sometime in the future. Thanks as always to our lovely hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for brightening up Mondays.

Monday 10 December 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ Innocent Until Proved Guilty

It is decidedly soggy in the garden at the moment and the main colours are greens, shades of brown and shades of something less appealing than brown.There are signs of the winter and spring treasures that will follow - primroses, hellebores and snowdrops but as yet these are too precious and few to pick. However the garden yielded this seemingly innocent trio for this week's 'In A Vase On Monday'. I say seemingly innocent because all of them are thugs of the highest order, the first two of which I would not plant again if I could turn back time. They are :
  • A symphoricarpos or snowberry bush which bears the little pink pink tinged berries that you can see in the above photo. This shrub is a creeper that is in the pursuit of world domination. Avoid it like the plague! Mine came to me via my parents which is why it is still in the garden, that and also because I think it would be almost impossible to remove every trace of it. It probably didn't thrive as well in the dry soil of East Anglia as much as it does in a significantly wetter part of the country. I didn't inherit my father's hack it to within an inch of its life genes. If I had I would have probably not had the same problems with the snowberry. I wouldn't mind as much if berry production was bounteous but the berries are usually bitty and sparse. Still I suppose it's a bit of colour in these cooler months which is not to be sniffed at.
  • An in your face shocking pink flowered hardy geranium which I can't remember ever hankering for or even introducing to the garden. This again should carry a government health warning! It seeds absolutely everywhere and is one of those that even when you think that you have got rid of it, manages to leave enough below the ground to return as an unwelcome visitor given enough time. I think it might be geranium x oxanianum but am not sure. Whatever its identity it's only plus is that is flowers for a long, long time probably from May right through to the back end of the year.
  • The third occupant of my vase is erigeron mucronatus which is rather an ugly name for a most attractive low growing plant. It was previously known as erigeron karvinskianus, which although a mouthful seemed a more attractive name. It hails from Mexico. This plant flowers for months starting here sometimes as early as March, and continues until the first protracted spells of hard frost.  It flowers for even longer than the geranium and the flowers turn from pink to white as they age. It came about as a result of a Margery Fish moment many years ago. She beguilingly described the plant in terms that I could not resist. However she did write of it in her book 'Cottage Garden Flowers that 'nobody minds how many seedlings appear each year'. I have to disagree with that particular conclusion as it self seeds prolifically and that's stating it mildly. I have to chuckle when I see it for sale at exorbitant prices. Over the years it has survived various serious eradication attempts by himself which I'm secretly rather pleased about.

Our hostess Cathy is featuring a most attractive rose in her vase today - if you haven't already called in do pay a visit to 'Rambling In The Garden' to see her post along with links to other vases. Make sure you have pen and paper to hand!

Saturday 1 December 2018

Reading Matters - 'I Am The Seed That Grew The Tree'

"I am the seed 
 that grew the tree
 that gave the wood
 to make the page
 to fill the book
 with poetry"

~ 'Windsong' by Judith Nicholls.

This poem gives its name to a new book of poetry 'I Am the Seed That Grew The Tree' that recently made its way to my bookshelves. Although I am an avid reader I'm buying fewer and fewer books each year so much so that new books have become a mere trickle. This is one though that I couldn't resist after reading a review in a Saturday newspaper. Although I will not settle down to a thorough browse until much later this month my initial impressions are that this volume is an absolute gem.

The book contains a nature poem for every day of the year. It has been published by Nosy Crow in conjunction with The National Trust. Within its pages are poems about snowflakes, stars, moonlight, seasons, storms, rain, rainbows, fog, wind, flowers, fruit, vegetables, leaves, trees, sea and seashells to name but a few themes, as well as all manner of wonderful creatures. Every page is illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon with big bold colourful images which are every bit as beguiling as the poems themselves.

There is list at the start of each month with detailing the poem and its author  for each day together with a comprehensive indexes of poems and first lines at the back of the book. Some of the poems are well known old favourites but the majority are ones that I've not come across before so the book will be a voyage of discovery. It is a primarily children's book but it would appeal to all generations.  I should point out that the book is hardback and weighty. I find it an effort to pick it up so for children I think it would be a sitting at the table reading activity after adult hands have placed it there. Definitely not one to drop on your toes. You find out more about the story of how the book came to be here.

I purchased my book from Hive but is also available through other online sources as well as from national and local high street bookshops.

As the cooler months unfold I hope to share more of my reading matter and would really love to hear what you are reading. 

Monday 19 November 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ Taking Flight

Oh I couldn't resist snipping my last sweet pea flowers of the year for this week's 'In A Vase On Monday'. There were only two stems but they are just as precious as the big bunches that I was able to pick earlier this year. I think that this is the latest that I have ever had sweet peas in flower. Slipping into the vase with them is a couple of stems of an annual white scabious, a perennial lilac scabious and a spray of 'Blush Noisette' roses still in bud. The sweet peas and the white scabious travelled back from the allotment with me on Saturday afternoon. There was also a pleasant take a gasp of disbelief moment at the allotment in the shape of one anemone coronaria 'Sylphide' in full flower. Is this late or this early? I was and still am totally confused. It looked as if it had been open for a few days. As I was walking home to clock up the steps on the Fitbit I decided it best not to risk it coming to an unseemly end as I walked so left it to shine at the allotment. There were also raspberries at the allotment - the autumn fruiting 'Polka' variety. Needless to say these didn't come home with me but provided a most pleasant nibble whilst I worked.

Thanks as always to Cathy over 'At Rambling In The Garden' who is the garden fairy inviting us to enjoy a sprinkle of magic every week.

Tuesday 13 November 2018

(Not) In A Vase On Monday ~ A High Five

Well it's Tuesday to be precise but my plans to join in the celebrations of the fifth anniversary of the unique meme that is 'In A Vase on Monday' were thwarted. Not wanting to miss out on this auspicious occasion I'm posting a little late.

Our hostess Cathy's challenge to think outside the box and not use a vase as such this week was a challenge - much head scratching later I looked to the left when I was sitting at the computer one evening. Eureka! One of the items sitting on the bookshelf is an old wooden pencil box. The contents were removed, some green tissue paper provided a lining and it was good to go. It was a bit of a squash though for everything to fit inside so I have laid everything with more space to spare as you can see in the photo below.

      Inside my not in a vase are :
  • A 2018 vintage conker picked up from the lane that leads up from our house to the main road. There are a couple of chestnut trees in the vicinity.
  • Sycamore keys - oh they look so innocent but are a bane come spring when they seem to germinate anywhere and everywhere.
  • An empty garden snail shell which will probably be deployed sooner or later as a cane topper.
  • Some lunaria annua or honesty seedcases - emptied of their seeds. A sizeable stem remains in readiness for the festive season and seeds have been saved for future sowing.
  • French bean seeds from a crop at the allotment.
  • A stem of bleached grass and some seashells from a vase on Monday put together back in July 2015 when we were on holiday by the sea. The vase or yoghurt glass in this case also reside near the pencil case. Apart from the odd emptying and cleaning of the glass the contents look almost as fresh as they did back then.
  • My little ornamental snail previously my mother's which has appeared before in a Monday vase.
  •  A stem of calendula 'Pink Surprise' - which although most pretty seems most inappropriately named in that I fail to detect any trace of pink on the petals. Maybe wrongly suppled seed?
  •  A few berries from malus x robusta 'Red Sentinel'. The tree is still clinging on to the majority of the berries but a few are now hitting the decks.
  • Finally a lapis lazuli gemstone which is a stone of friendship. I have become interested in gemstones since coming across them through Cathy who has featured some beautiful stones as props accompanying her vases over the years. I now have a small collection of them. To me 'In A Vase On Monday' encapsulates the very spirit of friendship.  A big thanks and a high five to to you Cathy 'At Rambling In The Garden'not only for your friendship but also for all the pleasure and knowledge gained through pouring over both your vases and other blogger's vases over the last five years.

Monday 29 October 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ Just In The Nick Of Time

Yesterday's weather forecast suggested that it might be an opportune moment to do some dahlia snipping. If not the cruel jaws of hard frost might inflict some damage. Sure enough today's inspection revealed ugly blackened dahlia foliage and had I left it I think that the flower would have also looked somewhat forlorn. I'm not sure which variety of dahlia it is. It has been in a pot at home and sadly has only just got going in the flowering stakes, unlike the dahlias planted at the allotment which have flowered from mid summer onwards. Along with the dahlia are a couple of sprigs of a hardy fuchsia, which may possibly be 'Hawkshead'. It was grown from a cutting from a roadside planting taken years ago. The final occupant of my milk bottle vase is arum italicum, the emerging foliage of which took me by surprise a few days ago. There is a patch of snowdrops planted in front of it but no signs of emerging snouts as yet. Not long to wait though - I am all of a quiver with anticipation at the very thought!

Thanks as always to the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for being such an excellent hostess. 

Monday 22 October 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ Swansong

My allotment is in a glorious state of topsy-turviness at the moment as it lurches to the close of play. I enjoyed several hours pottering about there on a balmy Saturday afternoon. Wigwams where sweet peas and beans climbed up have collapsed in on themselves and my edible crops have by and large stuttered to an end. I was still able to nibble on autumn fruiting 'Polka' raspberries and spotted a butternut squash that had escaped the radar on my previous visit. My next door plot neighbour grew them and when the foliage escaped over the dividing fence, kindly said that any squashes that grew on my side were mine to pick. In amongst all the disarray the dahlias are still shining like beacons so a bunch came home with me supplemented by one or two other companions. So my offering for 'In A Vase On Monday' includes :
  • Dahlia 'Henriette' which was new to me this year and has turned out to be a real star.  To my surprise a small indeed puny looking tuber produced a huge plant which has produced flowers all summer long. I have made a note to stake it early next year as it definitely needs support.
  • A large single soft orange single dahlia. This is a 'Bishop's Child' seedling and must be three or four years old. It has the added bonus of dark foliage. 
  • The white flowering dahlia 'Twynings After Eight' which is an old favourite again bearing dark foliage. 
  • A couple of chive flowers. Chives always have a second flush of flowers but this year's blooms are particularly floriferous. You may know that the flowers are edible although they are too peppery for my taste buds.
  • Some emerging flower heads of bronze fennel which seeds itself about the allotment but never to the extent of being a nuisance.
  • White scabious grown from seed of allegedly mixed coloured doubles which all turned out to be white. Oh well there's always next year and a different seed company .....

Our current run of mild autumn weather looks as if it will be halted in its tracks this coming weekend so I will pick more dahlias before the first frost does its damage. All the dahlias at the allotment are in raised beds so I cover them with mulch and risk leaving them in the ground over winter. Fingers crossed!

The little swan brooch you can see in the photo was made for me by my father when I was a child. Dad spent several months in hospital and learnt some new skills when he was convalescing including making costume jewellery. Sadly it has lost some stones over the many intervening years since and I must see if I can get it repaired or perhaps have a go myself.

I see that our lovely hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' is celebrating this week with a trio of firsts in her vase. Thanks as always for entertaining us Cathy and for providing the platform to share our vases. I look forward to seeing what other vases from far and wide are showing off this October Monday.

Monday 15 October 2018

GBBD/IAVOM ~ Foxy Lady

It's a case of two for the price of one today celebrating both Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day and In A Vase On Monday.

One of my plant purchases at the Southport Flower Show in August this year was tiarella 'Emerald Ellie' bred by Vicky and Richard Fox of 'Plantagogo'. This Cheshire based nursery is fairly local to me and holds the only National Collections of heuchera, heucherella and tiarella. The nursery exhibits at all the major flower shows, has earned a host of well deserved gold medals and sells very happy and healthy plants.

I was initially drawn to the plant by its striking foliage but when I found out that it bears white flowers I was even more excited. I was anticipating that it wouldn't flower until spring but then in September noticed what looked like emerging flower bearing stalks. Closer examination of the plant label told me that the plant flowers both in spring and autumn! As it is still a new plant to me I'm not sure whether it will still be in flower quite so late every year but I'm really appreciating these frothy white little spires right now. I picked a trio of flowering stems to put in a vase so that I can gaze upon them at close quarters.

With many thanks to both hostesses Carol over at May Dreams Gardens and Cathy from 'Rambling In The Garden' , for enabling us to share our blooms.

Monday 1 October 2018

Ticket To Rye

Travelling back on Saturday from a most relaxing week's holiday in Rye on the south-east coast, we caught sight of glorious blue skies and sunshine through our train window. It was a most beautiful autumn day but any thoughts of spending Sunday pottering about outside were soon dispelled on waking. It was a decidedly cool and blustery day peppered with rain although there was an opportunity to run round and pick some flowers for today's 'In A Vase On Monday'. It was touch and go whether to risk taking a photo outside in case the vase toppled over but my mission was accomplished safely. Nothing like living dangerously.

In today's vase are :

  • Rose 'Blush Noisette' - now enjoying a second flush of colour.
  • Sprigs of purple and pink linaria. The pink variety 'Canon Went' is so much more considerate than its purple sibling when it comes to seeding itself about.
  • Persicaria 'Blackfield'.
  • A scabious - variety unknown.
  • Pennisetum 'Karley Rose' which has produced all of two inflorescences so far this year with signs of a least a couple more to come. The plant has spread in girth since planting but it is not happy. Time for a move come spring.
  • Finally aster 'Little Carlow' which is one of my favourites for its colour, late flowers and as a star attraction for pollinators. I know that it has been renamed by the horticultural powers that be but the new name totally eludes me. 

I see that our hostess the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' is also featuring some late flowering daisies in her vase today.

Conditions out there are more inviting today so after some necessary shopping it's time to pick any lingering tomatoes and to dispose of the plants. The crop of 2018 was a vintage one. Enjoy your Monday whatever you are doing.

Monday 17 September 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ 'Last Of The Summer Wine'

It's a speedy pick and plonk vase for this week's 'In A Vase On Monday'. I spent a pleasant few hours at the allotment on Saturday, (more chatting than working) coming home with some sweet peas amongst other pickings. I realised that I had not used them in any of my vases this year so thought it was only fair to let them have their moment in the spotlight. It's been a funny old year for my sweet peas which I grow every year and plant on cane wigwams at the allotment. I sowed two batches in deep root trainers - in early March and a mid March. Germination was abysmal with a less than fifty per cent success rate. However I think that other people had similar experiences this spring so that made me feel better. I only had enough plants to grow up one wigwam and some varieties such as the usually stalwart 'Gwendoline', who is the pinkest of pinks didn't turn up for the party at all.

Those that made it though have done well despite the drought. They did receive copious liquid refreshment every time I visited the allotment. The bunches are now getting smaller and smaller and the stalks shorter and shorter but they are still hanging on so it only seems fair to let them shine in a vase. It had been raining just before I put the vase out but then it cleared allowing the sun to come through to lift the temperature. If you look carefully at the first photo you can see a couple of small visitors enjoying a late afternoon flight and a perfumed floral encounter of a close kind.

I'm pleased to see that our lovely hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' seems to be very much in the pink this week with some late flowering lovelies from her garden.

I'm now debating whether to make an autumn sowing of sweet peas in October, so will be rummaging through my seed box tonight to see what's left and deciding whether any seed orders need to be made. Previous sowings have often produced lanky and weak specimens but one can but live in hope.

Did you grow sweet peas this year. If so what were your experiences?

Monday 10 September 2018

In A Vase On Monday - "Here's One I Made Earlier"

Echoing that classic Blue Peter phrase  "Here's One I Made Earlier" -  I put this vase together ready to post last week and then for various reasons it just didn't happen. It's a shame for it to go to waste so here it is as it was then for this week's "In A Vase On Monday".

It contains the following :

  • Dahlia 'Henriette' - this another new to me dahlia this year. It is a most appealing colour although unfortunately the stems are on the short side for cutting. It's difficult not to snip the yet to emerge buds off as well. Oh and the plant is also somewhat floppy in its deportment but then can be forgiven that. I must remember to provide it with some support next year if the tuber comes through the winter at the allotment.
  • More of the 'Sahara' rudbeckias grown from seed earlier this year. After spending ages looking for the label where the name and sowing date was recorded I surprised myself with my own record keeping. I had made of the sowing date on the back of the seed packet! I sowed them on the 5th March and as far as I remember they were gently kick-started in a heated propagator.
  • Yet another zinnia. I've made a note to myself to provide the rudbeckias and zinnias with more room next year when I plant them out or at least to make sure that they are not near a sweet pea wigwam. The sweet peas seem to have gone walkabout and have been smothering their companions.
  • Mint - not sure which variety as I inherited it at the allotment. I could have perhaps done with a bit more for the purposes of filling the vase.
  • A couple of scabiosa 'Fata Morgana' flowers. I'm not sure about them as the stems seemed really floppy but will give them another go next year.
  • Finally some heads from the stipa gigantea which grows at the allotment. It has been absolutely glorious this year, shimmering in the sunshine and really relishing the warm hot summer. I must purchase another to grow in the garden so that I can appreciate it more regularly.

Thanks as always to our our wonderful hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden'. I'm off in a jiffy to do something creative with the remains of our Sunday roast dinner. This was the first roast we have had for months and its return on the menu marked the definite seasonal shift in the air. Once fortified I'm looking forward to a bit of browsing later this evening to discover what other folk have tucked into their vases this week.

Monday 27 August 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ "It's A New Day"

"It's a new day
It's a new dawn
It's a new life
For me
And I'm feeling good" 

~ lyrics from the fabulous song 'Feeling Good' by Nina Simone.

In this case the new dawn is supposedly dahlia 'American Dawn' which is a new to me dahlia this year. I say supposedly because I'm not convinced that it is the same dahlia that features when I search for images of dahlia 'American Dawn' on the web. It caused me some concern as soon as I saw the first flower appear which was entirely different in colour and patterning to what I had been expecting. I was a yucky orange and yellow combo but then flowers that followed were so very different. Whatever it's identity it has been a most welcome addition. I am though tempted to order 'American Dawn' from a different source in the future so that a comparison can be made next summer.

I was ahead of the game and the rain mentioned by our hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden', as I had noted Sunday's forecast and in fact picked my blooms late on Saturday afternoon. It had rained for a good part of the morning but the sun made an appearance later so the flowers had dried out by the time I picked them. Yesterday was decidedly wet and chilly here for most of the day but on the plus side the reservoirs may be filling up again. The vase accommodating the dahlias is an old stoneware jug which I think was bought in a local charity shop many moons ago.

My prop this week is a recent purchase in the shape of a 'Fitbit' which is currently on my wrist. This hot summer made me come to the decision that I must make a serious effort to lose weight as I felt so uncomfortable and lacking in energy. One or two readers who have met me in the flesh are aware that I am lady of ample proportions and sadly have been for most of my adult life. After some gentle encouragement from one of my nieces and a lunch time chat with a trio of lovely nurses at the Southport Flower Show I have bought a basic Fitbit. Nothing too fancy but it set to record a daily target of 10,000 steps which I've managed to achieve every day so far for the last week. It certainly has kept me on my toes and I apologise for not commenting on all the blog posts that I have read due to less sitting down time :) I know that I must also revise my diet but this is is a first step I hope to a healthier life.

Thanks as always to our inspirational and gracious hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for the motivation to put together a vase most Mondays. I wonder how many steps that process could involve. The vase is now sitting on the kitchen windowsill, where the flowers have lost their different shades in the reduced light and appear a most pleasing gentle dusky pink to the eye.

P. S. - Thanks to Cathy's comment I now know that my dahlia isn't 'American Dawn' but 'Jowey Winnie'. Although the colours seemed to match I couldn't reconcile the shape of my dahlia with images of 'American Dawn'. I put it down to my labelling going astray somewhere along the line as I had also planted what I thought was 'Jowey Winnie,' for her to be all foliage only or so I thought.

Monday 20 August 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ Seasonal Shift

Is it my imagination or does today's vase have a decided hint of autumn about it? The fact that the skies were rather dull when I took the photo didn't help matters much. The cooler but much kinder weather has continued and looks as if it will be about this week too. I'm feeling much more energetic and have a long list of both indoor and outdoor jobs to tackle so time for list making methinks. 

In today's 'In A Vase On Monday' are :
  • More of the rudbeckia 'Sahara' mix that I grew from seed earlier this year. The bud that was tantalisingly teasing me last week has now opened and I think that it might be the promised merlot shade. The flowers so far have all been double with the exception of one plant that has single flowers. It's in the vase but is hiding at the back along with a deep dark red dahlia bud. As I wrote last week I think that I sowed the rudbeckia in February but I've still not found the label. I am coming to the conclusion that perhaps I've stuck it in the ground at the allotment so will check in due course.
  • Another zinnia from a Sarah Raven 'Pale Zinnia Mix'. At the risk of repeating myself I'm delighted with these.
  • Some snipings from one of the elderflowers that are dotted about the garden. These were all inherited but are most welcome both for their frothy white flowers in spring and for the berries at this time of year. As you can see the berries are already on the turn. The berries are a perfect delicacy for birds especially wood pigeons who seem to have the most healthy of appetites. They are not likely to last long but hopefully will divert any passing birds from the crabapples for now. 
Our lovely hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' is celebrating Monday with some fabulous glowing dahlias.  Do visit her if you haven't already. I wonder what else is filling vases big and small this week. I'll have fun finding out later but for now list making calls.

Monday 13 August 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ Make Me Smile

Lower temperatures, leaden grey skies and some rain have been huge make me smile factors over the last few days. Hopefully the weather will continue in the same vein a while longer although today's vase is still very much on the sunny side.

In this week's 'In A Vase on Monday' are :
  • A couple of swirls of humulus lupus aureus or to give it its common name golden hop. This grows over an arch and is one of the banes of himself's life as he has to pass underneath it with the lawnmower. If you've not come close up and personal with this climber before the texture of the leaves is like velcro! The hop has taken off this year and has sprawled higgledy piggledey in all directions lapping up the sunshine. In fact it has now formed an impenetrable thicket so another route to the what passes as a lawn has had to be found. I think that this is its glory year and whilst other plants have been stuttering and gasping its has loved the long hot summer.
  • Some spikes of amaranthus cruentus 'Hot Biscuits'. I included this in a vase last month. I like the colour but am not so struck by the fairly upright tassels so it will not feature on the repeat seed order.
  • On that order though will be zinnia 'Queen Red Lime' which I have been so pleased with this year. Whether my success is down to this particular warm summer remains to be seem but it's a will sow again without any hesitation.
  • Amaranthus caudatus 'Viridis' with those caterpillar like furry green tassels is also on the list doing well in cooler summers too. I think that I sowed the seed in March but can't be sure. Next year I think that I might try direct sowing in May. The foliage is rather nondescript and tends to be nibbled but oh those tassels more than make up for it! 
  • Finally and new to me is rudbeckia hirta 'Sahara' which I grew from seed. I think that these were sown at the back end of February in a heated propagator but must find the label from the seed tray to be check. It is described as having "mostly double, velvety flowers is a blend of dusty rose, milk chocolate, copper, pale lemon and rich merlot". I have planted too few of these - only six so will not have the pleasure of the full colour range. So far I have a predominance of the above golden colour which morphs into a pinky shade with age. I'm still waiting with bated breath for one plant to open, the buds of which look as if they could be the "rich merlot" shade. The plants may overwinter but there is no guarantee. This is already near the top of my new seed list with a note to plant them in quantity! 
Thanks as always to our lovely hostess Cathy who resides over at 'Rambling In The Garden' and who is sharing a veritable explosion of colour in her vase this week. I'm off now into the greenhouse to see if I can find that missing label. Enjoy your Monday whatever you are up to!

Monday 23 July 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ 'Walking On Sunshine'

In a departure from my usual colour palette in this week's 'In A Vase On Monday' a decision was made to opt for shades shades of yellow, toast and butterscotch with a little bit of contrast thrown into the mix. In this week's vase are :

  • A huge zinnia grown from seed. I can't describe how excited I was when I snipped this for my vase. Finally I have zinnias to snip after several attempts have gone by the wayside. This might be a one off event thanks to this summer's heatwave but I shall celebrate whilst I can. This is a flower from Sarah Raven's 'Pale Zinnia Mix'. A definite will try again next year.
  • Kalimeris incisa 'Charlotte'- a hardy perennial bearing small pale mauve aster like flowers which the bees and hoverflies like. The plants are looking rather world weary at the moment but they are in a dry spot. 
  • A couple of coppery spikes of amaranthus cruentus 'Hot Biscuits'. I grew this from seed and wonder now if I had my specs on at the time when I was catalogue browsing. I was expecting the flowers to dangle but instead they appear in upright clusters which don't appeal even though I like the colour. It's a definite not to be repeated experience.
  • Calendula 'Snow Princess' - another hardy annual grown from seed.
  • A couple of flowers heads of an old favourite in the shape of Foeniculum vulgare 'Purpureum' or bronze fennel. 
  • Anthemis tinctoria 'E.C. Buxton' - this hardy perennial came from a cutting I took at an excellent propagation workshop at Bluebell Cottage Gardens Nursery, a good few years ago now. This anthemis has attractive ferny green leaves and bears soft pale creamy-yellow daisies atop stiff stems. If flowers throughout the summer.
  • Achillea ptarmica' The Pearl' - another hardy perennial. It has small dainty button-like white flowers but its innocent appearance belies the fact that it has the potential to become invasive. 
  • Inula - I'm not sure which variety it is but I think it's hookeri . The plant came home with me after a visit to a beautiful fellside NGS open garden in Cumbria last summer.
  • Some frothiness in the shape of alchemilla mollis also known as lady's mantle.
  •  Finally a couple of spikes of buddleia - variety unknown. It's a seedling from a buddleia that came from my parent's garden. Its scent is delicious on these warm sunny days.

On reflection I think that I've probably plonked too much in this week's vase and I might deconstruct it later and spread the contents across two vases. I was going to leave it with the yellows and rusts but himself decided that I needed contrast. In fact himself was wandering round looking for flowers to add to the vase! Maybe the heat has got to him. Should I be seriously worried?

Thanks as always to the lovely Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for hosting.

Monday 9 July 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ Firstlings

Again another late in the day vase for me - it wasn't until mid afternoon that I got to the allotment to water and pick a couple of stems for today's 'In A Vase On Monday'. Taking centre stage in today's vase is the very first flower of a new to me dahlia by the name of 'Henriette'. She was twirling around in the breeze in need of companions but she was ahead of them in opening. Also here is my very first ever zinnia flower! It's zinnia elegans 'Queen Red Lime'. I think that our hostess Cathy featured her very first zinnia last week. Up to now getting these to grow let alone flower has always eluded me. Normally my seedlings have shrivelled up or have been decimated by the molluscs. This year's batch were all sown under cover in coir pellets in May. I'm not sure whether that technique helped or whether they've just thrived with the heat but they are happy zinnias this year. The inside of the flower is an exquisite colour. I need to to take more photos to do this particular majesty justice.

The 'Romanesco' courgette is also the first of the year, again from seed sown in May. Unfortunately some of the other courgettes on the same plant are turning yellow. The allotment is flagging like me. Watering can duties seemed onerous on a humid afternoon. I think that I was feeling sorry for myself as I was bitten by some nasty creature during the night and woke up sporting an eye that looks as if it has been in a boxing match. Off for now to apply a cold compress or maybe a slice of cucumber to the offending area. Thanks as always to our hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' who I hope is managing to keep cool.

P.S. I've had a couple of lovely comments recently from Penny Post. Unfortunately I can't deduce from the comments whether Penny has a blog as if so I would like to visit. If you read this Penny please let me know or maybe some of my other visitors can point me in the right direction.

Monday 2 July 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ Not Quite What the Seed Packet Said

Finally at long last in today's 'In A Vase On Monday' there are ..... wait for it ..... some sweet peas! A trip to water at the allotment this morning revealed just enough sweet peas to pick. Not a plethora to fill a whole vase on their own but a few to act as a filler. My sweet peas have been a source of disappointment this year as far as gemination went so I only have the one wigwam. Now just why some red flowers have materialised I just don't know. I sowed named sweet peas rather than a mix and there were certainly not any red flowered varieties amongst them. Having said that I was delighted to welcome them.

        The sweet pea companions are :
  • Rosa 'The Fairy' - this is a polyantha rose which bears clusters of small light pink flowers from late June right through to the first frosts. The foliage always seems to be glossy and untouched by any signs of black spot etc.
  • A couple of stems of clematis 'Blekitny Aniol' (Blue Angel) which was bought many moons ago from the Country Market in Tavistock, Devon. It runs through rose 'Blush Noisette' and is normally a most attractive combination. The clusters of rose flowers have been crisped by days of intense sunshine so sadly this has spoilt the effect somewhat. There is much deadheading to be done.
  • Allium sphaerocephalon this is a most reliable easy going bulb which flowers after the larger alliums are done and dusted. Its only drawback is that any seedlings can be mistaken for grass when they first come through the soil. I must make a note to buy more bulbs this year. They don't take up much room and the flowers sway gently on wiry stalks.
  • Hordeum jubatum also known as squirrel tail grass and as foxtail barley. The green plumes slowly morph into a silvery - pink as the season progresses. I grew mine from seed sown in March.
Our hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' has put together a vase this week that really encapsulates the weather we are having at the moment. The heat is most definitely on. Have some sunglasses to hand if you haven't already had a peek!

Sunday 1 July 2018

End Of Month View ~ June 2018

My words for the month of the June that has just flown have to be watering can and wilt! They sum up what I seem to have spent much time doing as no doubt have many of you. With no end in sight this summer will be one of those that goes down in the record books for its exceptional weather. Our local television news weather forecaster, who has been doing the job for some twenty two years, said this week that she has never known such a period of sustained hot and dry weather at this time of year. It seems that the country has tipped on its axis this summer and we're getting the summer weather that the south east usually enjoys or should I say endures.

Well there has not been much going on in the garden with all this heat and jobs are building up. Some plants are looking decidedly stressed and for the first time I have bought the hosepipe out to certain areas of the garden. Giving me most pleasure this month have been hardy geraniums, astrantias, roses especially my new rose' Boscabel' and an old stalwart 'Blush Noisette'. I've also enjoyed the best display ever from a cutting of a scented pink dianthus from my mum's garden.

Keeping the allotment ticking over without casualties has been a bit of a struggle. The raspberries have certainly suffered and sadly there were will not be the surplus that we had last year to make raspberry gin. The foliage on my 'Charlotte' potatoes are now looking most tatty but we enjoyed the first crop of the year served cold yesterday. Most delicious was the verdict. These were planted on 26th April.

I hope to be picking courgettes in the next few days with climbing French beans 'Cobra' to follow close behind. My lovely niece helped me to plant a wigwam of runner beans the day before storm 'Hector'. We anticipated the worst but our wigwam survived intact and the beans are now climbing. The other curcubit crops seem to thriving as well along with what promises to be some rather yummy beetroot.

My cut flower beds are doing reasonably well. One is mainly dahlias which are now coming into flower and the white flowering cosmos bipannatus 'Purity'. In the other are more dahlias, nasturtiums, cornflowers, scabious, rudbeckia, zinnia, geum 'Mrs J. Bradshaw' as well as the lovely calendula that was in last week's vase. Sadly the latter seem to have been really zapped in the last few days and are looking rather sickly at the moment. I've sown another batch so should have more to look forward to later in the season. There is also a wigwam of sweet peas. Just the one wigwam this year because of disastrous germination rates. I have yet to pick my first bunch of sweet peas which is unheard of but hope to cut a few this coming week.

Out and about this month I had a most enjoyable day at the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show with a good friend. The weather was so much better than last year and there were none of the traffic jams and long queues to get in which visitors endured last year. The floral marquee was a delight as was the fabulous display of moth orchids. The show gardens were disappointing in their number which was down on last year. However there was a new feature in the shape of a long border competition which was a useful source of inspiration for planting combinations in relatively small spaces. Perhaps though the most spectacular sight of the day though were the swarms of mayfly on the wing by the river. Quite beautiful creatures.

I also had the pleasure of spending a day at Cathy's open garden (photos above) where I helped out at the plant stall. A most gentle and pleasant occupation. The weather was fine, the plants sold themselves and there was most delicious cake and good company.

Bucket of cut flowers

More recently himself and I have visited Graythwaite Hall Gardens and Holker Hall Gardens in Cumbria. I gathered afterwards that the former is best visited in spring when the rhododendrons and azaleas are in flower but we still managed to enjoy a relatively cool stroll on a sultry day. There was a most impressive yew hedge studded with tropaeolum speciosum but the combination of bright red and bright sunshine didn't make for a decent photo. We have been to Holker Hall several times over the years now and always enjoy our visits. This time we took particular delight in standing in the shade cast by the Holker Great Lime I was nearly tempted to buy a seasonal flower bunch from the bucket but persuaded myself that they wouldn't last long in a hot caravan.

Plant purchases this month include astrantia 'Star Of Passion, 'hosta 'Cracker Crumbs' and something else (the heat is getting to me). Coming home with me from Cathy's plant stall a peony 'Duchesse de Nemours' and a couple of ferns. The ferns have since decamped to the supposedly cooler climes of the Lake District to adorn the little garden outside our caravan.

The watering cans all standing in a line and ready for action are not mine but were photographed by me a few years ago on a visit to Le Jardin De Marie - Ange in France.

A big vote of thanks  as always to Helen over at 'The Patient Gardener's Weblog' for hosting. I've dipped in and out of this meme over the years now and have often found oh so invaluable for jogging my memory.

Monday 25 June 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ "What's In A Name?"

After a hot sunny day working at the allotment and then in the garden it was a quick snip and plonk late on yesterday evening to fill my 'In A Vase On Monday'.

In my vase, which just had to be my sunshine vase are :
  • Centaurea cyanus more commonly known as cornflowers. I can't quite make my mind up about this very dark colour and think that the flowers might be better on the plant than in a vase. These flowers came from a plant that must have grown from seed late last summer. I also sowed a 'Polka Dot Mix' in May which were very slow and sparse in germination. It will be a while before there are flowers but I'm hoping that the end results might include blue and purple.
  • Leucanthemum superbum ' Silberprinzesschen' - this  short in stature white flowering perennial daisy came home with me from the RHS Tatton Flower Show last year. It was on the 'Plant Heritage' stall which had a great selection of plants for sale. I only wish that I had found the stall earlier on in the day when my hands were less full. 
Calendula 'Touch Of Red Buff' which have been grown from seed. Back in January I came across mention and a photo of calendula 'Bronzed Beauty' on Kris's blog 'Late To The Garden Party'. It was a case of instant fatal attraction but my search for 'Bronzed Beauty' initially led me down the proverbial garden path. It was only after much internet research that I discovered that this beauty goes by a different name in the UK, where it is known as calendula 'Touch of Red Buff'. The flowers were shutting up for the day when I took my photo but I will try to pick some again for a vase later in the summer. Not only a beauty whatever the name but edible too! What's not to like?

Monday evening and the calendula flowers are more open as you can see below ~

Thanks as always to our hostess Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' for being such an enthusiastic and steadfast hostess whatever the weather.

Monday 18 June 2018

In A Vase On Monday ~ ' A Good Year For The Roses'

Each Monday Cathy over at 'Rambling In The Garden' invites bloggers to share their vases of floral and foliage pickings. My vase this week is mainly a chance to show of my new rose 'Boscabel', which I bought as a bare root rose last autumn. I could only bring myself to pick the one flower which shows off the rose at it's best I think as far as colour is concerned. As the flowers mature they morph into a much paler pink. This rose is most deliciously scented. It is from David Austin and the scent is described in their catalogue as a "medium -strong myrrh fragrance" which "has a hawthorn character with hints of elderflower, pear and almond". Well my noise is still making it's mind up about that description but whatever wafts in my direction is  a pleasure to breath in. I have Jessica from 'Rusty Duck' to thank for bringing this rose to my attention in the first place on her blog.

Keeping the single stem of 'Boscabel' company are :
  • More roses in the shape of 'Blush Noisette' - the flowers in this photo are looking paler than they do to the naked eye.
  • Astrantia - variety long lost in the mists of time.
  • Some dark foliage in the shape of physocarpus opulifolius - 'Diablo' I think.
  • Soft blue scabious flowers from a perennial, which came with the label scabiosa 'Irish Perpetual Flowering' but which apparently also goes under the name of scabiosa 'Butterfly Blue'.
  • Spires of linaria purpurea also known as purple toadflax. It is what might be called a generous self seeder.

The liquid refreshment is a something that I very rarely drink apart from on the odd trip to National Trust tearooms, where it often seems to be available and is most refreshing on a hot day. I recently came across it for sale at our local delicatessen so thought that I would treat myself to a bottle to imbibe on a sunny summer afternoon.

For those of you who haven't come across the song 'A Good Year For The Roses' before now do click and listen to the other Elvis.

Blogland seems to be in a temperamental mood at the moment. Blogger has stopped emailing comments directly to me and for the last few days I've found myself unable to comment on Wordpress blogs. I'm getting a message to say that I'm not logged into my Google account but I am! I do have a Wordpress account so will have to log on to that and see what transpires.

Thanks as always to the lovely Cathy who so ably steers the good ship that is 'In A Vase On Monday'. Enjoy your week and your plot of earth.

P.S. I'm unable to comment on Cathy's latest post at the time of writing using either of my dramatis personae. I will return later in the day to see whether I fare any better.